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Sabres Central

Hasek shutsout Sens as Sabres roll on
By Rick Anderson
February 20, 2001

Senators' goalie, Patrick Lalime is down and out after Miro Satan scored the second Sabres goal in the third period on a two-on-one with Maxim Afinogenov. That goal sealed the Sabres 2-0 victory over Ottawa.
[AP Photo/Don Heupel]

Dominik Hasek is back running on all cylinders. That was clearly evident as he posted his 7th shutout of the season in helping the Buffalo Sabres defeat the Ottawa Senators 2-0 before another sellout at HSBC Arena in downtown Buffalo. Hasek made 30 saves, many of them in pure Dominator form, as he barred the door to any Senator. It was an exact replay of the last time the Senators were in Buffalo late December, when Hasek again shutout the Sens 2-0.

Last week, Sabres GM Darcy Regier once again insisted that Hasek will not be dealt to another team. That seems to have instilled even greater efforts out of the Sabres goalie.

"It's a great feeling," admitted Hasek about the no-trade policy. "But I approach the game the same way. I appreciate it, but nothing changes in the way I practice. I play my game."

Hasek stonewalled the Sens for the third straight time. In the last three games (two in Buffalo), Hasek has allowed a measly 1 goal. He had the Senators shaking their heads all night as they stormed the goal and stormed him early in the game. Hasek was an early target of some rough play, bowled over by Colin Forbes, which incited a riot on the ice as every player except for the goalies got into the act. The Sabres Jay McKee and Rhett Warrener quickly retaliated on Forbes as the referees stood by and watched the Sabres defend their goalie.

Rob Ray tangled with Andre Roy and Ray was able to get Roy's helmet off and hammered away. Roy knew that he was in trouble when the refs wouldn't intervene, so he took the skates out from under Ray and fell on top of him.

J.P. Dumont and Miroslav Satan did all the scoring the Sabres needed in this one. Hasek, meanwhile was the games's top player and finally seems to be in the form that he displayed a few years ago when he won the Vezina trophy.

Lindy Ruff was especially pleased about Hasek's play.

"I would say it's probably his best game," Ruff said about his No. 1 goalie. "He was extremely sharp this morning (in practice.) "I thought he was rock solid. The penalty kill was the difference in the game."

Birthday treat for Dominik's son

Michael Hasek was celebrating his 11th birthday Monday. The victory and his dad's shutout capped a fun-filled day for Michael.

"Even though he goes to school tomorrow, I let him come to see the game," said Hasek. "It's a good feeling (for Michael). "He's a big Buffalo Sabres fan. I'm sure he's happy."

Even Ruff noted that Hasek's shutout was added frosting on Michael's cake, "You would want to give your son a shutout, wouldn't you?"

Now with 7 shutouts in the current campaign, Hasek has tied the Stars' Eddie Belfour for the NHL league lead. Amongst active goalies in the league, Hasek has passed Patrick Roy and is only four behind Eddie the Eagle. It was Hasek's 52nd shutout in his NHL career.

Typical Sabres-Sens matchup

This game was typical of almost every game between these two teams for the past two or three years. It was close-to-the-vest checking, great defense and the Senators employed their trapping system.

Rob Ray flairs away with punches to the head of helmetless Andre Roy after Dominik Hasek was run from behind by Colin Forbes in the first period. Ray was the obvious winner in this match.
[AP Photo/Don Heupel]

"It was everything that was expected - a tight, low scoring game," said Hasek. "We scored the first goal and on the power play"

But the Sabres were able to penetrate the trap and Senators' goalie Patrick Lalime's crease twice and that was enough for the Sabres to gain two points on the first place Senators.

After the melee caused by Forbes blatant hit from behind on Hasek, the Sabres went on the powerplay and took advantage of it. Chris Gratton was able to feed Dumont, who had positioned himself in the bottom part of the right faceoff circle. Dumont took a shot that somehow made it five-hole through Lalime's pads and the Sabres had a lead they would ride until late in the third period. It was Dumont's 17th goal of the season and came at the 7:13 mark of the first stanza.

From then until Satan scored to put the Sens away for good, Hasek and the blue liners in front of him, did an outstanding job in keeping Ottawa at bay.

The Sabres found themselves in trouble when they ended up two men short over halfway through the second period. However, the D-men, with Hasek as the final backstop, shut the Sens down. Hasek was required to make quite a few great saves, like he did for the entire game.

"The defense did a great job," Hasek credited his supporting cast. "I had to make some saves, but I saw all the shots and I would say it was the best defensive game of the season."

The Sabres let the air out of the Senators when Maxim Afinogenov and Satan led a classic rush down the ice and Satan hammered the nails into the Senators' coffin. While the Sens were swarming around Hasek, attempting to tie it up, Afinogenov grabbed the puck at the Sabres blue line and rushed up the ice with Satan on his left. Afinogenov showed his classic flashy moves and Lalime was thinking about a Maxim shot when he suddenly flipped it over to Satan, who slipped it past Lalime. It was the 22nd tally of the year for Satan, who is on a hot streak the past couple weeks.

That was it for the Sens, who have now lost three straight to Buffalo after winning the first game of the series 3-1. Buffalo now plays in New Jersey on Thursday and comes back home for a contest against Phoenix on Friday.

Sabres Talk

Senators' coach Jacques Martin is getting sick and tired of seeing Hasek in the nets for Buffalo. But he also gave the Sabres defense lots of credit for the shutout.

Jason Woolley of the Sabres tries to keep the Senators Martin Havlat from doing the wrap around on the Sabres goal during first period action.
[AP Photo/Don Heupel]

"Dominik has played well against us, but I don't think it was all Dominik," Martin said. "Whenever they are that good defensively, your goaltending has to be good."

Jason Woolley had something to say about all the talk that Hasek not being as good as he used to be. "He's still good enough,"said Woolley "I mean, come on. Every team in the league would be licking their chops to have him in the net. I don't care how old he is or how slow a start he got off to. It's games like this where it's a big game, and you see what he does."

Hasek is not sure why he suddenly has his game back after struggling most of the season.

"I wasn't at my best and all of a sudden it changed," said Hasek. "Mentally, you have to play one or two (good) games and then you feel confidence. Confidence is important, but I don't feel stronger or in better shape than two or three months ago."

Lalime, who faced 10 less shots than Hasek, said the Sabres took the most of their opportunities.

"It was just like a playoff game, a battle for space, a battle for shots," Lalime said. "Sometimes it doesn't matter how many shots you get, it's how good the scoring chances are."

Ruff new exactly what to expect from the Senators.

"We expected a tough contest and we got a big effort tonight," Ruff said. "To beat these teams, your goal tender has to be rock solid. We made some mistakes and he was there.

"We had some careless giveaways and threw a lot of pucks around the wall, but we played a type of game that didn't allow odd man situations."

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